The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time


'Straight Outta Compton'

Courtesy EMI Records

Priority 1988

This was the start of gangsta rap as well as the launching pad for the careers of Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. While Public Enemy were hip-hop's political revolutionaries, N.W.A. celebrated the thug life. (A collection of Dre-produced tracks for N.W.A. and other artists had been released in 1987 under the name N.W.A. and the Posse, but this was their first real album.) "Do I look like a motherfucking role model?" Ice Cube asks on "Gangsta Gangsta": "To a kid looking up to me, life ain't nothing but bitches and money." Ice Cube's rage, combined with Dr. Dre's police-siren street beats, combined for a truly fearsome sound on "Express Yourself," "A Bitch Iz a Bitch" and "Straight Outta Compton." But it was the protest "Fuck Tha Police" that earned the crew its biggest honor: a threatening letter from the FBI.

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